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7:14 PM
I know it's a bit early in the site, but would we be interested in starting a topic of the week challenge at some point?
@DForck42 I have some thoughts on the matter, some positive and some negative. If we try a challenge, it needs to be early, while folks are still excited about the site. At the same time, I'd be reluctant to suggest starting it during private beta, so folks who join later won't miss out on the original discussion.
@HDE226868 ok, sounds like a good time to post a meta about it would be when we go to public beta
we'd also want access to the upcoming events stuff anyway to advertise it
@DForck42 Yes, definitely.
This has come up already, and I still think it might be better to wait until we have more traffic and volume, and enough people to have a decent number who know about a specific work.
2 days ago, by Rand al'Thor
Related reading from another beta site.
Although the activity here so far has been pretty stunning.
@Randal'Thor yeah, I was going to argue that lit would be a different beast entirely
there's quite literally new material every day we could cover
7:21 PM
@Randal'Thor People are copying my Worldbuilding post? Interesting.
@HDE226868 Oh, that was yours?
I was the one who copied it from WB to Puzzling.
@Randal'Thor It was, yes.
(Topic challenges have been a great success on Puzzling, btw.)
@HDE226868 Your last 3 points are quite interesting, since they were pretty much the reason I asked this related question about Death on the Nile (although Captain Hastings' purpose was fulfilled by another character there).
@Randal'Thor why is this still open? crafts.stackexchange.com/questions/2649/…
7:25 PM
@NapoleonWilson That's quite peculiar.
@Randal'Thor I did mnage to win a copy of the hunger games trilogy on the old lit site because of a challenge :-D
@DForck42 I dunno, ask @Catija.
@DForck42 Oh, nice!
@NapoleonWilson Why all the italics for people's names?
@Randal'Thor TotW kinda has hti and misses
our Fantastic Beasts challenge went really well
Q: Topic Challenge: Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts [completed]

Napoleon WilsonLast week saw the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin-off from the popular series of Harry Potter films and itself starting a new series of films in the Harry Potter universe. So due to popular demand we're starting a new topic challenge. From 2016-11-21 00:00 UTC to 2016-1...

Q: Fortnightly Topic Challenge #25: Wordplay

RottersSlaveThis is the twenty-fifth instalment of the Fortnightly Topic Challenge described here, with topics suggested and voted on here. This fortnight's topic is wordplay(suggested by Beastly Gerbil), and will span from the the 23rd of January to the 5th of February. During this period, we will compile t...

@Randal'Thor I used to do that in the past. I have stopped with that practice for over a year now (if not two), though, realizing my error. But I don't want to run around and bump all my posts just for fixing that. I try to fix it whenever I get the chance, though.
7:28 PM
@Mithrandir neat, I like the template
Yay, I've finally got the 5th volume of Sunstone
@DForck42 With those current-event based challenges it's really hard to know the difference between genuine challenge questions and ones that just come from naturally high traffic due to a new release.
@NapoleonWilson Yep, 's what I thought. Just wanted to check before editing :-)
Is that standard in German, or is it just a personal thing?
@NapoleonWilson true, but I honestly don't think the different is that important
I do notice and appreciate, though, that some of our newer users tend to actively engage in a (friendly) competitive challenge for those lately, actively trying to ask good questions.
7:30 PM
@NapoleonWilson Particularly a certain squirrel ;-)
@Randal'Thor yup
@Randal'Thor I doubt it. Or I don't really know, at least. It was really just a personal thing of mine.
@DForck42 It's not a great question but ID is on topic on A&C.
@Catija ok. I just know that id questions based solely on a single photo are VEHEMENTLY off-topic on m&tv
Cool. I see three deleted answers :P
7:43 PM
@Mithrandir heh, I can't see deleted answers yet
Wait what? They posted an answer, deleted it, and then posted the exact same thing again.
@Mithrandir Check the revision history.
It was deleted as a link-only, then edited to be a good answer and reposted in that form.
Now I see.
@Randal'Thor See, when I do something like that, I rollback to the original before deleting.
Although now I'm just waiting for someone to answer Clue 27...
8:13 PM
It's been so long that I need to re-read volume 4 to understand what's going on
@Gallifreyan Of what?
48 mins ago, by Gallifreyan
Yay, I've finally got the 5th volume of Sunstone
@Mick why delete?
It's not bad if you've credited your source. I would advise bolding the relevant parts, though, like specific parts that match the question.
I was unhappy with it. Anyway, I was unsure of my answer-as-comment, and I posted it as an answer against my better judgement. I don't think it's salvageable, and in any case I might be wrong. There's no point in sweating a possibly erroneous answer about Enid Blyton, imo.
@Randal'Thor @HDE226868 I posted the question, FYI. It's long, but it's basically what I was talking about earlier.
8:22 PM
shrugs Your decision.
@Emrakul I chose professional or expert, but I was thinking the wrong kind of expert/professional...
@Emrakul If I wrote this question as my ENG 101 essay I'd probably get A instead of A-
I think we should name it Books and Literature :P
@Mithrandir May I ask what kind you were thinking of?
Not being coy or anything, I'm honestly curious.
@Emrakul YES
I'm writing something with someone else. I got an offer for someone to publish a poem of mine once o_o

As for expert, I'me very well read. I have read thousands of books, and I have a fairly good memory, so I considered myself an 'expert'... (and I'm good at Googling :P)
8:32 PM
Also, your Worldbuilding anecdotes are almost entirely spot-on.
@Mithrandir Cool. I think this is a good example of how 'expert' changes from site to site.
@HDE226868 I was hoping they'd be! It's both a hard problem to reduce into a few sentences, and a difficult one to analyze since I... sort of stopped following Worldbuilding. (Not because of this; just a time thing.)
On scifi an expert is mostly somebody who can use a wikia. On DIY it's a broad shallow proficiency with fixing things. On RPG you're an expert in whatever you've got experience with but not so much other things.
I only headed to Worldbuilding to get on the HNQ.
8:34 PM
So I was getting quite a lot of help from @BESW, particularly with parts that needed good examples (but also with the framing and structure overall).
@Mithrandir That's our problem, in ten words.
@HDE226868 Yep :P
They were honest questions, though, that I thought of while writing.
Because I was trying to think of some ecological disasters, and those were some possibilities that I had thought of.
(In case anyone's wondering: Question 1 | Question 2)
Worldbuilding lost me because answerers refused to take meta-level requirements seriously--that is, considerations about the constraints of the story or medium which make it world building rather than mere speculative science.
@BESW I know how to use a hammer. Does that make me an expert? :-)
@Mick On hammer-related answers.
8:38 PM
@BESW I think it's gotten better in cases where the askers are serious about the requirements and are willing to downvote answers that ignore the premise or constraints.
@Mick no, but if you get paid to USE that hammer, then you're a professional
@Mick Yes. If you're on SE, a hammer means you are really an expert.
@Mithrandir ... or a mod. :-]
slowly pushes my box of hammers under the rug
@Emrakul You've only got one, I thought...?
8:40 PM
So we, as the Literature community, would need to be serious about critiquing answers that aren't, as Emrakul's question puts it, "discourse to an expert level".
Also, I'm just going to say this: Emrakul just asked what I think may be the most important question Literature Stack Exchange has faced or will face for a long time.
The problem is, it's hard for non-experts to recognise an expert level of discourse, especially when it's a chicken.
Ahem! I think that, sometimes, applying the thumbscrews is in order.
@BESW It is, and it's not going to be successful if we keep the current userbase in its exact form.
. . . and decide to push for expert-level content.
@Mithrandir Oh, hammers... armchair expertism? Moderatorship? I don't know, I'm getting my hammers mixed u--er. Metaphors. Mixed up.
@BESW Hey! Someone's plagiarised my master's dissertation.
8:44 PM
@HDE226868 true, but we also need to take care to not scare off everyone, otherwise we again risk "in crowd" mentality
@HDE226868 what's that?
@HDE226868 Pushing for expert-level content is a slow and length process. On Puzzling, it was achieved mostly through continuously asking the question, "how could this be better?" while voting non-judgmentally if it isn't quite there yet.
@DForck42 Mmm. And that's where some of my issues about topicality come into play.
I think a similar process could work on Literature. Even if an answer is good, ask for something that would make it better. But vote with empathy.
@Emrakul when I'm feeling especially outgoing, I do this on movies
like "this question ok, but it COULD be better because blah"
I did that more when I was a mod
Yeah, I can see it! It helps a lot, too, if even a handful of people do it.
8:52 PM
OK, everyone go through my answers and tell me what should be improved :P
@Mithrandir I think they just all need to be burned ;-)
deleted my old question and posted a new, narrowed question
Q: Intended central theme in I, Robot

DForck42In the book I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, the author wrote several short stories, all usually revolving about robots of different types. It's possible to interpret the short stories with many different themes. What is Isaac Asimov's intended central theme to connect all of the short stories in the ...

@DForck42 ouch.
@DForck42 Why not start off by asking if there is a central theme, like you did with the Dark Knight trilogy?
Oh god, deleted again.
And undeleted. o_O
@NapoleonWilson valid
Oh cool, I'm outspoken...
9:00 PM
@NapoleonWilson I thought you could edit while it was deleted, that proved to be untrue
@Mithrandir :-D
@Mithrandir nice
apparently you can't track the outspoken badge?
This probably applies to all "classics" irrespective of nationality. But I suppose that would make it too broad then, I guess.
The other tools were a disappointment, but this seeing deleted posts is cool.
@Mithrandir first time with it?
Another 3k on scifi till I get it there
@Mithrandir ahh
9:04 PM
What makes it cooler is that I was the second one ever to get those powers here.
@Mithrandir I need another 6k on m&tv to get site analytics
I see
I know that's pretty much self-evident, but someone should maybe mention to the "expert"-proponents that this of course excludes their beloved identification questions.
@Mithrandir nice
@BESW On scifi an expert is mostly somebody who can use a wikia - that's not fair. Somebody who can use Google, maybe. Wikias are almost universally frowned upon as sources.
9:05 PM
@Randal'Thor Not that I can tell, but there' Judaism.SE where actual experts hang out. I'm barely knowledgeable.
... Not gloating. I really hope it doesn't sound like I'm gloating.
@DForck42 They're...not really much useful or interesting really.
@NapoleonWilson true
15k already isn't of much worth, or what is it where you get protection.
@NapoleonWilson 15k
9:08 PM
20k is a bit better, more deletion and unsupervised tag wikis.
25k. 25k is where it's at. All those extra analytics. Mmm.
But the real thing still is 10k, as it's also somewhat of an ideological milestone in the SE world.
@NapoleonWilson Agreed.
insert the usual quote from Praxis
@Emrakul Phew. I just finished reading your meta post. Can't upvote it for another 3 hours, but I'm already thinking about how to answer it.
Sorry about the length :] And I'm looking forward to reading!
I have to point this out. The Help Centre page on referencing, which is identical across all SE sites, looks as if it was tailor-made for Literature.
Somebody needs to come up with a question about Hemingway and war.
9:23 PM
@Randal'Thor lol
@Randal'Thor btw, I accepted yoru answer and posted a new theme question
@Randal'Thor Only looks, though.
@Emrakul That's very true, and I'm not really supporting either option at this point, in part because of that.
Everybody cherish your top bar while it lasts...
They're replacing it...
@Mithrandir :(
@Mithrandir Link?
9:32 PM
@Mithrandir Again?
they need to allow us to alter it's appearance, cause it fugly
Q: Phase Two of Top Navigation Testing Begins Soon!

Tim PostWe're happy to report that phase one of our top navigation redesign testing went very well. We're going to be starting phase two very soon, and wanted to give you a preview of things to come and some details about the test. As soon as the test begins, users with 499 rep or below stand a good cha...

@Mithrandir I'm reasonably certain it's only going to be Stack Overflow.
@HDE226868 for now.
@Mithrandir It could be a long time, though. Remember that there have been pushes for Docs to be on other SO sites, and it's gone about five months without confirmation that that would spread.
9:36 PM
@HDE226868 I personally just don't like the way docs is set up
it has a forced template that doesn't quite work for everything
I honestly just think Stack Exchange is a little confused about what it wants to be and where it wants to go in life.
It's the existential crisis of the Stack. It's aimlessly changing features, like the top bar around, and it doesn't know why, anymore.
... Until SmokeDetector is integrated in, SE is not self aware.
Who are we? How did we get here? What are we doing? Where are we going? I don't know, let's make a new top bar.
@Mithrandir goooood point
in Charcoal HQ, 2 days ago, by SmokeDetector
is this thing on?
@Emrakul basically
9:40 PM
Man, the first time that happens with a real AI, it's going to be horrifying.
I also just don't think jobs or documentation are important, but the new bar makes them more prominent
giving them the same weight as questions on the site
and actually giving them MORE weight than tags and users
since those have been pushed to the right
and having search in the middle is disorienting, since almost every site has it either top left or top right
google and bing being the exceptions
@Emrakul Good to know it's not just Literature ;-)
@Mithrandir You mean that thing they phased out from Meta Stack Exchange onto Stack Overflow-only a long time ago? You sure that's gonna affect anyone not Stack Overflow?
@DForck42 That's the reason, you don't think they're important, so you have to be convinced they are by makin' 'em bigga! ;-)
@NapoleonWilson yup
Everyone has to start thinking about who they're gonna nominate as mod! I am voting for Rand :P
9:52 PM
Me too. But that's a little early and we don't really have much of a voting right anyway.
@Mithrandir Definitely! When do we nominate mods?
@Benjamin when it's clear that we are heading public.
So hopefully in about a week
I actually think not before the site is public.
On ai the nomination started before publuc
At least you didn't write "pubic".
9:54 PM
@NapoleonWilson youtube.com/watch?v=OonDPGwAyfQ (mild language warning)
Mr. Calvino in all honors, but his "definition" of a classic isn't any less sentimental "you know it when you see it" handwaving than any other person's made-up answer.
10:10 PM
To solve the expert gap, why not just email experts and invite them tto join.
@Benjamin do eeet
@Benjamin Feel free to send Thomas Pynchon an e-mail about the site.
eating popcorn watching Robert's discussion with valorum literature.stackexchange.com/questions/891/…
@NapoleonWilson Why him?
@Benjamin I don't know, he just sprang to my mind. ;-)
@DForck42 I don't really know if he's realized that this is a new iteration of the question anyway. (But maybe he has and thinks this will be closed for the same reason, which is a valid opinion.)
10:18 PM
@NapoleonWilson maybe
But well...gotta love Robert. Just read the first sentence of his meta answer. ;-)
@Emrakul Answer posted. Not sure what you'll think of it.
I read through it, and I think I need to read it a couple more times. I personally like what you're saying, though.
@HDE226868 linky?
It seems like answers are leaning toward "stay Literature, and learn how to do Literature." But it's hard to tell; existing answers aren't making it very clear beyond an ambiguous "let's learn to do something better."
10:24 PM
@DForck42 Linky
@Emrakul I don't think there is any one way. I'm pushing for a small-scale organic evolution, as opposed to one giant strategy for becoming experts.
@Emrakul Just posted my answer too.
@HDE226868 oh my god
I haven't even read through it properly, so it might undergo some edits as I think of new things to say.
@DForck42 What?
Wanted to get it up soonish since other answers were already appearing.
> We might not be the heroes Literature SE deserves, but we're the heroes it needs right now.
10:28 PM
I think your guys' answers pose a valid framing challenge to my question.
I think that pretty much summarises it.
*yawn* - I should probably go to sleep...
@HDE226868 wall of text is wall of texty
the whole meta post, not just your answer
I think Robert, HDE, and I are all pretty much saying the same thing in different ways.
@DForck42 I tried to make mine less wall-of-texty, with headers and bold text on the important bits :-)
I think Robert may have missed the point, but I already said my piece about that ;)
10:33 PM
Do you think HDE and I missed the point too?
@DForck42 Um well, have your looked at the question then? ;-)
I don't think so. I think there's a valid frame challenge buried between your answers.
@NapoleonWilson reading through it now
I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, what you guys are saying is that we should ignore the question of what an "expert" in literature is or does, and just work toward establishing a culture of positive encouragement for deepening literary understanding.
@Randal'Thor And yet again Rand al'Thoring it with a quote from a film I'm sure you haven't seen. ;-)
10:34 PM
And let the community develop organically from there.
@Emrakul Yes.
@NapoleonWilson Yep :-D
I don't even know what film it's from.
@Randal'Thor Oh god, that's even worse. ;-P
@Emrakul What I'm saying is that we don't need expert people to produce expert content.
(I think 'expert people' is a bit of a non-thing anyway - anybody can become good/knowledgeable with anything, if they keep an open mind - but that might be just me.)
@Emrakul sounds good to me
10:37 PM
And expert content is what SE (and we) want, so let's just keep on producing that and not worry about who it comes from.
Less of the who, more of the what.
While probably true, the notion that we're all a bunch of amateurs because we don't know what the word "critical lense" really entails, was a little disheartening. I'm glad the majority of those meta posts set that straight rather eloquently.
Focus on the post, not the person, and all that.
@HDE226868 Then I think that's an answer within the frame of the question, and it's one I can get behind. If we can establish that we are looking for depth and breadth in understanding of literature, and work toward that goal... and that's a good way of looking at things.
I've got a friend that'll be interested int he content of this site (English major, writer, etc), trying to get her email address to invite her
@NapoleonWilson There were six self-identified "experts" on the Area 51 page; I'm not saying that, the committers were saying that about themselves.
10:38 PM
@NapoleonWilson We are all a bunch of amateurs. Or are you secretly a librarian with a PhD in literature? ;-)
'Amateur' just means we aren't getting paid for this.
It doesn't mean we can't be good at it.
@Randal'Thor Read the first 3 words, I'm not saying it's wrong per se.
It doesn't mean we can't become 'experts' (whatever that means).
See somewhere above for why I chose expert.
@Emrakul "I participate in ELU.SE and I sympathise with users who ask for help with literary analysis, which is off-topic there. I will help as much as I can." Phew!
2 hours ago, by Mithrandir
I'm writing something with someone else. I got an offer for someone to publish a poem of mine once o_o

As for expert, I'me very well read. I have read thousands of books, and I have a fairly good memory, so I considered myself an 'expert'... (and I'm good at Googling :P)
10:41 PM
@Emrakul You don't want to believe what people say about themselves.
I will say, this is THE MOST activity I've ever seen on meta
Mithrandir described himself as "professional or expert".
on any site that's not SO or meta.se
@Randal'Thor ^^
@Randal'Thor Yeah. And that makes the question, "What are we really trying to do here, anyway?" all the more important.
10:42 PM
@Emrakul I think that may be where I differ from @Randal'Thor and Robert insofar as I do think that it's desirable to have people who really know a lot about Literature. But I think that by bumbling our way along, then if we stick with it, we can get there and beyond.
For what it's worth, I wrote three separate answers to the question, all saying different things, and that was what resounded with me the most.
@Mithrandir Sure. In some sense you are an expert. I'm not denying that. That's pretty much what I was trying to say in the first section of my answer (not you specifically, but us in general).
@Randal'Thor thanks for the compliment ;D
I don't really want to be the arbiter of what's correct, but I'm inclined to personally agree, @HDE226868.
@HDE226868 Of course it's desirable to have people who really know a lot, and even professionals if they'll come.
> the occasional professional whom people can ooh and aah over, but mostly enthusiasts producing expert content.
That's what I was trying to say with this ^
Guess I should have emphasised it a bit more.
10:45 PM
@Randal'Thor I guess where I disagree with your answer is the implication that we don't have a need to acknowledge where the holes in our literary understanding are.
On the one hand, I really, really, want high-level content. On the other hand, I don't care who's answering my questions, so long as they know what they're talking about in the case of the topic we're dealing with. On Zaphod's third hand - the point which I eventually stuck in my answer - I think Stack Exchange can grow its own experts and expert content, in a way - enough that it all works.
I'm going to post a comment, though, so that the body of the discussion occurs on meta.
@Emrakul I wasn't trying to imply that at all.
> Of course most of us are relatively inexperienced, and there's always room for improvement, but we have all the time in the world to make that improvement.
That's a lot different than what I would have said a year or two ago, though.
Another thing I guess I should have emphasised some more.
10:46 PM
Maybe even six months ago.
Let's see what I can do in the way of an edit.
Okay, that's fair. I'm going to re-read, too.
guys... can we just take a second and BREATH?
Also, I love that the answers have scores of 8/4/2/1. All we need to do is get the question up to 16... ;)
we're WAY over thinking this whole site
10:49 PM
@Emrakul Numerology, yay!
No, wait, it's 8/4/2/-1.
...crap. Oh well.
Absolute value to the rescue!
@HDE226868 Mod 2, an upvote is the same as a downvote.
@Randal'Thor out of reviews for another good hour
@Mithrandir I know.
10:52 PM
@Randal'Thor I guess what strikes me as odd in your answer really just stems from a wording error on my part in the question, and makes it... not worth leaving a comment about.
I meant to use "expert" as a sort of constructed idea, and didn't actually mean to imply that expertness is somehow the end goal.
A tag? Ugh, no thanks.
@Randal'Thor I dont' even understand what it would be used for
@DForck42 Supernatural things?
@Randal'Thor And your answer quite heavily uses the idea that I meant "experts" to be the end goal, which isn't true, and is a flaw in my writing.
@NapoleonWilson that's a supernaturally broad tag
10:56 PM
The thing is, a lot of this question has to do with a consideration of "what counts as literature, anyway?"
@DForck42 Of course it is. I'm not saying it's a good idea. ;-)
@Emrakul Like it says on the starboard, that's not something we're going to work out in the immediate future.
Yeah. At this point, I think I'm gonna step back, and wait, and read, and think some more.

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